Today in Islamophobia

A daily list of headlines about Islamophobia
compiled by the Bridge Initiative

Each day, the Bridge Initiative aims to bring you the news you need to know about Islamophobia. This resource will be updated every weekday at approximately 11:00 AM EST.

Today in Islamophobia Newsletter

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19 Apr 2023

Today in Islamophobia: In the U.S., the NYPD is investigating the attack of a 58-year old Yemeni bodega owner in Brooklyn as a hate crime, as the four male assailants who stormed his store used racial slurs prior to the attack, meanwhile in London, the editor of Jewish Chronicle (JC) Jake Wallis Simons has been accused of inciting hatred after posting misinformation on twitter about a church being attacked by Muslims in Bethlehem, and in the UK, a manager for the Crowley Town Football Club has been banned for an additional three years for anti-Muslim comments made against players. Our recommended read of the day is by Sheikh Saaliq for Associated Press on how the once multicultural Indian city of Ayodhya has been overrun by ruptured relationships between its Hindu and Muslim population, a consequence of Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist policies. This and more below:


1 city, 2 people — and India’s widening religious divide | Recommended Read

Syed Mohammad Munir Abidi says India is a changed country, one he doesn’t recognize anymore. It’s a country, the 68-year-old says, where Muslims are ignored, where rising attacks against them are encouraged, and where an emboldened Hindu majoritarian government is seizing its chance to put the minority community in its place. Swami Ram Das thinks otherwise, echoing a belief system central to Hindu nationalism. The 48-year-old Hindu priest says India is on a quest to redeem its religious past and that the country is fundamentally a Hindu nation where minorities, especially Muslims, must subscribe to Hindu primacy. Abidi and Das are two ordinary citizens living in one city in a country of more than 1.4 billion people that is on the cusp of becoming the world’s most populated nation. Together they embody the opposing sides of a deeply entrenched religious divide that presents India with one of its biggest challenges: to safeguard freedoms for its Muslim minority at a time when a rising tide of Hindu nationalism is eroding the country’s secular underpinnings. read the complete article

Are Indian Muslims doing fine?

A SENIOR Indian minister has made an unusual claim about the well-being of Indian Muslims. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman told a conference in Washington that Muslims couldn’t be doing as badly as is increasingly reported in the western media. The proof? Their population has increased since independence from British rule in 1947. It was a far-fetched argument to make before a foreign audience, ostensibly to counter adverse reports swirling about the targeting of Muslims. A BBC documentary cited a secret British assessment describing anti-Muslim pogroms in Gujarat in 2002, when prime minister Narendra Modi was the state’s chief minister. The report held Modi directly accountable for the attack on Muslims. However, the targeting of minorities has expanded geographically and in its intensity to include Christians and Dalits with Modi’s ascent to power, a charge Nirmala Sitharaman struggled to contest. Indian countermeasures have included flat denial and bombardment of gullible audiences with Goebbelsian use of Hindu nationalist media. But Sitharaman’s claim at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington on April 10 was in a different league with forbidding implications elsewhere. By her logic, Palestinians living in an open-air prison under Israeli military occupation should be beholden to the usurpers and not challenging them. After all, their population also is growing; in fact, at a far higher pace than Indian Muslims’. Apply the minister’s population growth theory to the Rohingya, or Yemenis or Afghans, and we should need to tweak our moral compasses to gain lessons in prosperity among those we believed were given a raw deal by man-made circumstances, but whose populations have grown nevertheless to ostensibly defy the claim. read the complete article


Editor of anti-Palestine Jewish Chronicle accused of inciting anti-Muslim hatred with false tweet

The Editor of the London based Jewish Chronicle (JC), Jake Wallis Simons, has been slammed and accused of inciting hatred against Muslims and Islam for posting a tweet propagating the false news that Palestinian Muslims had launched an attack on a Church near Bethlehem. "Palestinian Muslims launch Ramadan attack on Church of the Annunciation in Beit Jala near Bethlehem," said Simons in a tweet, which he later deleted. Screenshots of the tweet was shared on social media, where many asked Simons if he had issued a correction and an apology to Muslims for spreading misinformation. As well as being the editor of the JC, Simons has also written for the right-wing outlet accused of meddling Islamophobia, the Spectator. The JC, too, has a history of making false allegations about Muslim groups and is often accused of inciting anti-Muslim racism. One of the more shocking articles by the JC called Islamophobia "bogus" and even claimed that the concept of "Islamophobia" is "profoundly anti-Jew.". As it turned out, there was no such attack by Muslims on the Church. The incident is reported to have been a spill over from a dispute in a nearby restaurant. Simon's failure to verify the incident before sending out a highly provocative anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian tweet exposed his bigotry according to immigration, human rights solicitor, Fahad Ansari. Ansari said that Simons tweet sought to equate anti-Christian violence with Islam and Palestinians. According to the UK based solicitor, using the phrase "Ramadan attack" at a time of collective worship across both Christianity and Islam was particularly emotive and designed to foment division between the two communities. read the complete article

United States

Coney Island bodega owner assaulted in possible anti-Muslim attack

The NYPD is investigating after a 58-year-old bodega owner in Brooklyn was savagely beaten in what may have been a bias attack. Last Saturday, Jamal Sawaid, 58, was working inside his store when four men walked in, yelling racial slurs and then assaulted him. At least one of the men had a metal pipe and repeatedly struck Sawaid in the head, causing his eye to swell shut and leaving him with multiple lacerations. The suspects took off after attack in a white pickup truck and Sawaid was rushed to a nearby hospital. He received eight staples in his head to treat his injuries. The NYPD says the incident is being investigated by the Hate Crime Task Force as a possible bias attack. Sawaid says he's never seen the men before. Originally from Yemen, he's been a business owner in Brooklyn for 23 years and has been recognized by city officials for his work in the community. read the complete article

Why Trump as Jesus Christ makes perfect sense to US evangelists

"Jesus was arrested and murdered by the Roman government. There have been many people throughout history that have been arrested and persecuted by radical corrupt governments and it’s beginning today in New York City.” So said Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, sharing her heartfelt theological concerns over the arraignment of former US President Donald Trump earlier this month in New York. Episcopal Bishop Reginald T Jackson, who oversees more than 500 churches in Greene’s home state of Georgia, did not care for the analogy and considered it “blasphemous and disgusting”, but Greene had countless other Americans supporting her sentiments. Those allegations do not seem to bother his evangelical base, devoted as it is to the former US president's image as a devout Christian, to the extent that the sanctity of the figure of Christ is affixed to him. The roots and manifestations of this peculiar version of evangelical theology are extremely important for any understanding of American politics. Yes, there are profound elements of white supremacy and racism in this Trump cult. But not all of this diehard Christian piety can be explained away thus. There is genuine pain and evident hurt, some of it economic, some of it emotional, mixed with a sense of anomie and alienation. Some people who identify as white, Christian and conservative feel that their country, their culture and their religion are all under attack by coloured people, non-Christian people, radical liberals and the left. They are trying to “get their country back”. In this figure of Trump as Christ, we are facing a Christian nationalism of much deeper and bolder proportions - the evidence of an imperial imagination that connects US warmongering around the globe with the Christian zeal of the conquistadors at the time of Christopher Columbus. It is the Holy Roman Empire that this political theology fathoms, with Trump as the figure of not Just Christ but, in fact, Charlemagne. read the complete article

United Kingdom

English soccer coach gets longer ban for discrimination

A manager in England’s lower soccer leagues had a ban for using discriminatory language toward his players increased to three years on Wednesday following an appeal by the Football Association. John Yems, the former manager of fourth-tier club Crawley Town, admitted to one charge and was found guilty of 11 others relating to comments made from 2019-22 that referenced ethnic origin, color, race, nationality, religion, belief or gender. Among the evidence heard by a disciplinary panel set up by the FA, the 63-year-old Yems was found to have used anti-Muslim language, as well as racial slurs and stereotypes toward Black players. He was handed a 15-month ban in January but the FA wanted a longer sanction, saying it “fundamentally disagreed” with the findings of a panel which sided with Yems’ lawyers, who argued he was “not a conscious racist” and did not “ever intend to make racist remarks.” An appeal board more than doubled the length of the sanction, which means he is banned from all soccer-related activity until Jan. 5, 2026. The FA said it was the longest ban ever issued in English soccer for discrimination, adding that it was justified because there were “numerous examples of inherent and obvious racist language.” read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 19 Apr 2023 Edition


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